Obama speaks out on Romney video
September 18th, 2012
07:25 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama speaks out on Romney video

(CNN) – President Barack Obama suggested Tuesday that Mitt Romney was "writing off a big chunk of the country" in remarks made in the controversial, secretly recorded video from a May fund-raiser published Monday.

In an interview taped for "The Late Show" with David Letterman in New York, the president said he didn't know what his opponent was referring to in the video but was quick to add, "One of the things I learned as president is you represent the entire country. If you want to be president, you have to work for everyone."

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

"What people want to know though is you're not writing off a big chunk of the country because the way our democracy works," said Obama. "This is a big country. And people disagree a lot but one thing I've never tried to do and I think none of us can do in public office is suggest that because someone doesn't agree with me that they're victims or they're unpatriotic."

The secretly recorded footage exploded on-line Monday when the liberal-leaning news organization Mother Jones posted a story and video clips. Tuesday the web site put out an additional clip and then later in the day published more than 49 minutes of the recording. Among Romney's remarks that stirred controversy was a comment describing "47 percent of the people who will vote [for president Obama] no matter what" as being dependent on government.

The president continued noting the 2008 presidential race against Sen. John McCain.

"When I won in 2008, 47 percent of the American people voted for John McCain," Obama said. "They didn't vote for me and what I said on election night was: 'Even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president.'"

Letterman reminded Obama of his own campaign gaffe in 2008 when then-senator and Democratic candidate said at a fund-raiser in San Francisco that certain Americans will "cling to their guns and religion."

Obama said he "immediately felt it was wrong" and quickly apologized, compared to Romney who has defended the crux of his comments though admitting they were "not elegantly stated."

"There are not a lot of people out there who think they're victims," Obama said. "There are not a lot of people who think they're entitled to something."

Obama continued: "We've got some obligations to each other, and there's nothing wrong with us giving each other a helping hand so that that single mom's kid, even after all the work she's done, can afford to go to college.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Billie Layland

    I don't believe you understand what Governor Romney was talking about. It's those that keep having babies or will find anything to do to keep from having to work. They expect a handout from everybody willing to look their way. This does not include those that have found themselves homeless or on the streets due to foreclosure or tragedies such as the hurricane.
    We fight to keep everything we have and you don't half do your job. Your job would be better off going to someone who truly cared about us. Let the governor start job programs or whatever is on his agenda; the world knows that you have no agenda and resents you. I may have to run next time, my family has been in the United States over 200 years, fought in all the wars back to the American Revolution, and I am a Native American woman who is proud of her heritage which was here before ANYBODY ELSE, including Muslims. And don't even dare insinuate that Muslims were American Indians.

    September 18, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  2. Iamnotfooled

    When I won in 2008, 47 percent of the American people voted for John McCain," Obama said. "They didn't vote for me and what I said on election night was: 'Even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president.'"
    And he has. If not for obstructionism and the Repubs planning his demise the night of his inauguation he could have done more. This is what a President for the people should sound like.

    September 18, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Darrell

    Obama-Biden 2012 !

    September 18, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. CNN Fan

    That's why Obama will win this election...He will be re-elected...
    I don't know what Romney will say to America..He should quit now...Otherwise, Republicans will be more embarrassed because of him...

    September 18, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  5. Chipster

    The more Romney speaks, the more obvious it is that he is simply not very bright. His success in business appears to have been based on his financial resources and ability to hire people to create profit for him. Judging from all the people who lost their jobs, pensions, and benefits to his slash and burn business practices, he considers industrial workers to be part of the 47% who really don't matter to him.

    September 18, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. Hammerer

    Obama's goal is to have 100% of Americans dependent on the government.

    September 18, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  7. ug

    Who cares what obama says...truth hurts huh barry.

    September 18, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  8. Reality for you

    Yeah, Barack, you ARE suppose to represent the entire country so why do you just represent the liberal progressives and push your Collectivist agenda? MOST of us do not want it.

    September 18, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  9. stars

    Spoken like a true christan that why I will be voting for president OBAMA!!!!!!

    September 18, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  10. Alois

    Who's obama. Isn't he the crackhead, deadbeat that's been squatting inside the White House?

    September 18, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  11. Are you kidding me?

    True comments from a true leader. He represents all of us unlike Willard the joke of a candidate.

    September 18, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. ted

    Barack Obama is the best choice for America for the next four years. Romney remains an ignorant out of touch with reality demagogue in the worst of the GOP tradition.

    September 18, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  13. John Smith

    wow... amazing response! President Obama IS the president this country deserves.

    September 18, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Well said, Mr. President. Well said.

    September 18, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  15. ALEX

    am into politics but were can i start after college,am in high school right now and i got 2 years left.

    September 18, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  16. Wirius

    said Obama. "This is a big country. And people disagree a lot but one thing I've never tried to do and I think none of us can do in public office is suggest that because someone doesn't agree with me that they're victims or they're unpatriotic."

    This is why I don't vote Republican. When I said the Iraq war was a lie, I was called unpatriotic. Because I tend to side with the Democratic party, I am called unpatriotic. Can we please stop doing this? Republicans and Democrats are both patriots. Obama is to. Stick to the issues and leave the insults and rhetoric out of it.

    September 18, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  17. ALTALKS21

    "However, other conservatives supported Romney for highlighting what they call the increasing dependency of American society on government programs." Yeah, American workers should rely on their own wages, a LIVING WAGE!

    September 18, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  18. mj

    Desperation is when your campaign foots a $50,000/plate bill, just so you can record a grainy under-cover video of a private campaign fundraiser. Severe desperation is when you have to release your election-time surprise early, to cover-up foreign policy failures, and another credit down-grade. Irony is when you find out that the words on the video are true, and they identify a huge problem that needs to be fixed. Extreme irony is when you realize that Americans will elect Romney to fix this problem that Obama ignores!

    September 18, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  19. LIP

    Well, I'm a Republican and I have yet to hear him say one good thing about my party, which means he isn't working for half of the population. Watch his nose grow during the next two months, just like it did during his first election campaign.

    September 18, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  20. Cynthia

    "One of the things I learned as president is you represent the entire country. If you want to be president, you have to work for everyone." BO

    Well, as long as you're gay, pro-abortion/pro-death, pro-union, illegal alien or pro-Hollywood.... Not if you're hard working, a tax payer, a business owner, a Christian or a law abiding citizen.

    September 19, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  21. The Elephant in the Room

    The Republicans have derided Jimmy Carter for almost 30 years.

    Well, on the topic of LEADERSHIP, Mitt Romney could learn VOLUMES from No. 39.

    Unlike Romney, Carter was willing to work on the peace process for isreal; and he did it with their biggest, most powerful enemy [with whom they had been to war]. Romney has said he would "kick the ball down the field".

    Mitt Romney IS NOT ready for primetime.

    September 19, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  22. Fact

    A leader who serves all Americans.

    September 19, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  23. Albert

    Barack Obama, president the country can be proud of. One that despite the political oppositions commitment to put politics before country. The republicans #1 goal was to make President Obama a one term President. Very tasteless. It shows in the nefariousness of Romney/Ryan agenda. Attack the weak and vulnerable. Obama saves the face of our highest office. OBAMA 2012!

    September 19, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  24. Tasha

    Not true Mr. President , you did not work for everyone , that is why our country is in such a mess.
    You are a good campaigner and that is about it.

    September 19, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  25. John Oboho

    Obama had the humility to apologise to the "certain Americans" he felt he offended.But Romney is still holding on from apologising to about 50% of Americans he has refered to as beggers.If he should know,that's derogatory.

    September 19, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
1 2 3